Law360 Profiles Akin Gump Efforts to Win Asylum for Afghan Interpreter

Law360 has featured the successful efforts of an Akin Gump team in securing asylum for an Afghan citizen who worked as an interpreter with the U.S. military, in its Pro Bono Spotlight article “Akin Gump Secures Asylum For US Military Interpreter.”

The article recounts the work undertaken by the firm beginning in 2016, after Samey Honaryar had already been held by U.S. immigration officials for more than a year, first in an Alabama jail and then in Texas. With Akin Gump’s help, including that of litigation senior counsel Dennis Windscheffel, the case was moved to immigration court in New York, where an aunt of Honaryar’s lived.

Akin Gump lawyers in New York, comprising pro bono counsel Lauren Connell, litigation counsel Dean Chapman and corporate associate Natasha Burnett, convinced the judge to rule in Honaryar’s favor, despite facing a “hostile” government attorney. The ruling, according to Connell and Chapman, was long overdue.

Chapman said Honaryar had been “through a lot” during the nearly three years he was detained. To those who think asylum seekers “are cagey people” just trying to get into this country, he added that Honaryar “would like to live in Afghanistan if he could. He lost his family, his homeland, his security.”

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